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Gaming News Round-Up: November 3rd, 2004

Today's round-up includes Final Fantasy XI's move to the Russian steppes, Doom 3's move to the Apple Macs, and Data Design's licensing of some distinctly un...
Today's round-up includes Final Fantasy XI's move to the Russian steppes, Doom 3's move to the Apple Macs, and Data Design's licensing of some distinctly unconventional extreme athletes. - Following the game's debut in Japan, North America and most of Europe, publisher Akella has announced the signing of a contract with European publisher Ubisoft that will see Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XI released in the Russian, CIS and Baltic areas. The publishing deal covers both the PlayStation 2 and PC versions of Final Fantasy XI, and comes on the heels of the EverQuest II Russian distribution deal also recently announced by Ubisoft and Akella. Although the Russian and Eastern European territories have traditionally had issues with larger-scale piracy, companies such as Akella, who have also developed in-house titles such as Sea Dogs and Pirates of the Caribbean, are leading the way in localizing major PC and console games for the Russian market. It's also worth noting that online MMO titles, for which pirating the client still won't allow players to play online without a valid subscription, are an excellent way to circumvent the piracy problem. - On the heels of the chart-topping and sales results that the PC version has enjoyed thus far, Aspyr Media has announced that it will be publishing the Macintosh version of id's popular FPS sequel Doom 3. The Macintosh version will be a direct conversion of the PC original, setting players amidst the ruins of an ancient Martian civilization, as a company called Union Aerospace Corporation tries to unlock the secrets to teleportation. Put in the role of a Marine assigned to defend the company, Doom 3 has players fighting off an invasion before it leaves Mars for Earth. Doom 3 for the Macintosh will retail for $49.99 USD, but there's no official news on the conversion's release date. Meanwhile, the Xbox conversion of Doom 3, converted by developer Vicarious Visions, is also still in development, and is currently expected to ship in the financial quarter ending March 2005, according to a recent Activision earnings call. However, id Software will have the final say on specific release date for both conversions. - In one of the more bizarre licensing agreements of recent months, UK developer Data Design has announced a deal with street luge and downhill skateboarding team Jugular to create a PlayStation 2 game based on the wacky competition exploits of Jugular athletes such as Wade Sokol, Sean "The Duck" Mallard and Lee "Leemo" Dansie. The press release accompanying this announcement promises "roads with traffic and obstacles like rabbits, squirrels and ten ton trucks" for the finished game, which, at least for the street luge part, involves lying on an aluminum board that has four skateboard wheels and can travel at speeds of more than 80mph downhill. Data Design are the UK developer unfortunately best known for the mid-'90s fighting game flop Rise Of The Robots, but they have also gone on to create newer licensed titles such as Nickelodeon Party Blast and Tonka Space Station.

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